"I was born in 1945. I grew up with my parents and seven siblings in a small, pretty town known for its rugs, processions and Easter week fiestas. My father always worked in construction and my mother was a homemaker. I am...
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"I was born in 1945. I grew up with my parents and seven siblings in a small, pretty town known for its rugs, processions and Easter week fiestas. My father always worked in construction and my mother was a homemaker. I am very thankful because, even though we were a big family, they were always looking after our wellbeing. I went to school up to the sixth grade and then, when I was eleven, I began working in a nearby town.
"At the age of 14, I found a job in a mechanic shop where I worked for six years. Then when I was 20, I began working in a silver workshop. This is where my passion and love for making handcrafted jewelry was born. I remember that in my first week there, I made six key chains and six spoons. I was so happy because, as soon as I finished the pieces and turned them in, they paid me and, with this income, I could help my parents, brothers and sisters.
I specialized in engraving silver. One day, Don Hector, who was in charge of engraving in the shop, went to buy lunch and I had seen how he did his work. When he got up, I sat down in his place and began engraving quetzal birds in the silver. When I suddenly realized it, I had made twenty five! It was then that Don Hector came back. He asked me what I was doing in his place. Then he looked at my work and was impressed by how well it was done, with the delicacy of my hand when working silver – I said it was probably because I played the guitar – and how precise my strokes were. From then on I was the one engraving everything.
"Now I have three beautiful, loving daughters. I have had my own workshop since 1980 – it's a simple place, but I have all the tools and space I need to work. One of my dreams is to have a bigger workshop, to produce more and sell more so I can offer opportunities for more and more workers. I also want to be healthy so I can continue working, and be productive for a long time.
"I like to stay active. I see my work as a hobby. I let my imagination and creativity fly so I can create new designs and different pieces. In my spare time, I enjoy walking, especially in the mountains, fishing, and volunteer work helping young people with addiction problems.
"I am very grateful for this wonderful opportunity you are giving me and my artisan community in Guatemala. This fill us with happiness, as it is another source of work that gives us hope for more dignified lives. It lets our work be known and generates employment for people who need it."